Special Report

How Far The World's 18 Most Powerful Missiles Can Travel

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As the Ukrainian counteroffensive progresses, a new long-range Russian anti-tank missile is proving a problem for the country’s defenders. The LMUR, launched from Russian attack helicopters, has a range of 15 kilometers. This is a long range for a weapon designed for precision strikes on highly-armored targets, but 15 kilometers is basically spitting distance compared to the world’s intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon capable crossing vast distances to strike their target, often carrying a nuclear warhead.

Many nations possess these powerful weapons, which are defined as weapons that can travel over 5,600 kilometers (about 3,500 miles), though many can deliver nuclear warheads at much longer distances. (This is the country with the most nuclear weapons.)

To determine how far the most powerful missiles can travel, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the nonpartisan Arms Control Association, an organization that promotes effective arms control policies. Only operational missiles with ranges of at least 5,600 km were considered. Supplemental data came from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Federation of American Scientists.

The U.S., China, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia are the only countries known to have ICBMs that are fully operational. Other nations like North Korea and India are also improving their missile programs in anticipation of developing their own ICBMs as well. With Russia invading Ukraine, the world is in the perilous position of seeing a nuclear power at war. President Vladimir Putin warned that if any nation intervenes in the conflict, Russia would utilize “instruments … nobody else can boast of, and we will use them if we have to.” No nuclear weapon has been utilized since World War II, but if Russia were to strike Ukraine with such a weapon, the result could be catastrophic worldwide. This is what a nuclear war would do to the world.

Click here to see how far the most powerful missiles can travel

18. M51.1
> Operator: France
> Range: 3,728+ miles
> Warhead: Nuclear, 100 kT each
> Payload: 6-10 MIRV
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 52.9 tons, 39.4 feet long

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17. RSM-50 Volna
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 4,039-4,971 miles
> Warhead: MIRV
> Payload: Four warheads
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 40.3 tons, 48.6 feet long

16. Julang (JL) 2
> Operator: China
> Range: 4,350+ miles
> Warhead: 200-300 kT each
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: N/A

15. D-5 Trident II
> Operator: United States, United Kingdom
> Range: 4,598-7,456 miles
> Warhead: W76 100 kT or W88 475 kT
> Payload: Up to 8 MIRV Mk 4 or Mk 5 warheads
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 65.1 tons, 44.0 feet long

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14. SS-N-8
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 4,971 miles
> Warhead: 0.6-1.5 MT
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 33.3 tons, 42.7 feet long

13. RSM-56 Bulava
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 5,157 miles
> Warhead: Nuclear, 100-150 kT
> Payload: Up to 10 MIRVs, 1,150 kg
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 40.6 tons, 39.7 feet long

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12. RSM-54 Sineva
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 5,157 miles
> Warhead: MIRV
> Payload: Four warheads
> Basing: Submarine-based
> Size: 40.3 tons, 48.6 feet long

11. Minuteman III
> Operator: United States
> Range: 5,996-8,078 miles
> Warhead: W78 at 335 kT, W87 at 300 kT nuclear
> Payload: Up to 3 Mk 12A;
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: 38.0 tons, 59.7 feet long

10. RS-18
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,214 miles
> Warhead: Six MIRV, 3,355 kg
> Payload: Nuclear, 500-600 kT
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: 116.4 tons, 79.7 feet long

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9. SS-24
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,214 miles
> Warhead: MIRV, 550 kT
> Payload: 10 MIRV
> Basing: Silo-based, railcar-based
> Size: 104.5 tons, 76.8 feet long

8. RS-20V
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,338-9,942 miles
> Warhead: Nuclear, 500-750 kT
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: 210.5 tons, 112.5 feet long

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7. RS-24 Yars
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,524 miles
> Warhead: Nuclear, 150-200 kT
> Payload: Three MIRV warheads
> Basing: Road-mobile, silo-based
> Size: 54.7 tons, 73.8 feet long

6. RS-12M Topol
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,524-6,835 miles
> Warhead: Nuclear, 550-800 kT
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Road-mobile
> Size: 12.1 tons, 67.3 feet long

5. RS-12M1 Topol-M
> Operator: Russia
> Range: 6,835 miles
> Warhead: Nuclear 500 kT
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Road-mobile, silo-based
> Size: 51.8 tons, 71.9 feet long

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4. DF-31A
> Operator: China
> Range: 6,835+ miles
> Warhead: 200-300 kT each
> Payload: Single warhead
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: N/A

3. DF-5
> Operator: China
> Range: 7,456 miles
> Warhead: 200-300 kT each
> Payload: Double warhead
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: N/A

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2. DF-5B
> Operator: China
> Range: 7,456 miles
> Warhead: 200-300 kT each
> Payload: Three Warheads
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: N/A

1. DF-41
> Operator: China
> Range: 7,456-9,321 miles
> Warhead: 200-300 kT each
> Payload: Three Warheads
> Basing: Silo-based
> Size: N/A

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